It’s conference season! Woohoo!
Have you attended a business or blogging conference before? I’ve been lucky to attend a few different conferences the last few years and this August I will be attending two conferences, Haven, a DIY and design blogging conference, and The Savvy Experience, a conference for female business owners. Taking the time to meet fellow bloggers and biz owners in person is priceless in an age of emails and text messages. If you have a conference on your schedule this summer or fall, below are ways I have maximized my experience at conferences.
Conference Networking Tips
- Engage with fellow conference goers before the conference begins.
In today’s technology driven society, most conferences will have a social media presence like a hashtag or Facebook group for attendees. If there is a speaker or attendee you want to connect with, chat with them on social media or send an email before the conference. If possible, plan a time to meet during the event for an even stronger connection.
- Determine the dress code.
There is nothing worse than being underdressed at a networking event. Before you start packing your bag, look at photos from previous conferences or ask about the dress code on Twitter or Facebook. I’ve learned from experience that feeling inadequately dressed can be a blow to your confidence. I attended an event a few years ago and I was the only one wearing shorts – everyone else was wearing a dress. Although I was nicely dressed, I felt compelled to mention it to everyone, but I’m guessing no one would have noticed if I hadn’t mentioned it. Bottom line, check the dress code and when in doubt, it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed.
- Practice your elevator pitch.
You never know when you might meet a potential client, so make sure you have your elevator pitch ready to go. You will also be meeting lots of new people who might refer others to you in the future. Having your rockstar statement ready to go will leave a great impression on all you meet.
- Stock up on business cards.
Networking is key to at all conferences, so don’t forget to stock up on business cards to hand out. There are a variety of online printing services you can order business cards from quickly and inexpensively. I just ordered a set of business cards from Primoprint. I’ve never used the service before, so stay tuned! When I am looking for high quality business cards, Moo is my favorite. Bonus! Everything on Moo is 25% off until July 20. VistaPrint is another popular online printer I’ve order cards from in the past.
- Take notes.
Be sure to bring your charger(s), notebook and pen. Even if a conference venue has WiFi, my phone battery always seems to drain quicker. There is nothing sadder than not being able to access Twitter and take a photo because your phone or tablet died. If you prefer taking notes digitally, having a notebook and pen and is always a good idea incase your device does dies or acts up.
- Attend social events.
The best networking happens after hours at conferences. Don’t sit in your hotel room while everyone else goes to happy hour. It can be impossible to talk to everyone you want during a conference, so attending an after-hours event can be a great way to connect. Don’t forget those business cards!
- Stay hydrated and eat healthy.
Most of the time conferences provide beverages and snacks throughout the day, but I always bring a water bottle and a few heathy snacks. Conferences are like marathons, not sprints, so nourish your body with the proper fuel to get through the long days.
- Follow up after the event.
After I meet someone at a networking event, I note on their business card if they are a prospective client or new friend. Often times I will send out quick emails to everyone I met letting them know how much I enjoyed meeting them. It is a great way to stay in contact after a networking event.
Whether you are a first timer or you are a networking pro, I hope my conference networking tips get you excited for upcoming events! What conferences or events will you bet attending in the coming months? What are your best networking tips?